Covid-19 has pummelled the cruise market, but signs point towards a ‘phased recovery’
Certainly, the bleak news has been coming thick and fast – hundreds of ships laid up, a slump in new orders and postponed deliveries. VesselsValue calculates the total value of the global cruise ship fleet fell by US$40Bn from US$170Bn, during the pandemic crisis.
And whole cruise regional markets have shut up shop – for example Canada announced in February that it had extended its cruise shipping ban until 28 February 2022.
But amid the current conditions, there is hope the industry is picking itself up and dusting itself down. For example, the cruise industry’s trade association Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland, has announced its Wave Generation Innovation campaign for 2021.
The campaign will promote the diverse range of innovative initiatives being rolled out across the industry and by individual cruise lines, as the sector takes its next steps towards a return to service. While CLIA’s ongoing stakeholder outreach programme – which includes MPs and influential travel groups – will be used to highlight the progress being made.
It is important to have a mouthpiece to emphasise to consumers the safety measures the cruise ship operators are taking to allay any concerns potential passengers have and encourage them to choose this mode of holiday.
CLIA director UK & Ireland Andy Harmer highlights how the industry is responding and adapting to a world affected by Covid-19, “From the health and safety measures set to be implemented, to the significant sustainability progress being made, to developments in technology on and off ships, the cruise sector has much to be proud of. These innovations have never been more important, as Wave gets under way and we further set our sights on the industry’s phased recovery.”
One innovation I would like to single out, and which is providing a path forward, are the safe pilot cruises that took place in Singapore, as covered by Passenger Ship Technology Q1 2021 issue.
Jointly developed by DNV and the Singapore Tourism Board, the CruiseSafe certification standard enhances Covid-protection protocols and allowed Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream and Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas to respectively set sail in November and December 2020 on pilot round-trip cruises with no ports of call.
These safe pilots could pave the way for other regions and cruise ship lines to adapt to the new situation following Covid-19.
As Dream Cruises president, and head of international sales Genting Cruise Lines Michael Goh is quoted as saying in our feature, “It paved the way for effective protocols and processes to be established with regards to safety and preventive measures under a new norm for cruises.”
Furthermore, highlighting more reasons to be optimistic about a recovery, while Covid-19 has delayed the delivery of many newbuilds, some 20 new cruise ships are still forecast to enter service in 2021. Viking’s new Viking Venus, featured in this issue, is one of these ships.
Despite the battering the industry has taken due to Covid-19, technical innovations continue, and as Mr Harmer says, these, among others, have never been more important. Viking Venus is a good example of such innovations, as our feature highlights.
Another new vessel, Crystal Cruises’ first polar-class vessel Crystal Endeavor, features in Passenger Ship Technology Q1, also featuring exciting innovations.
While there is a way to go before the cruise industry is properly back on its feet, the current initiatives and activities within this sector show there are grounds to be optimistic about a recovery this year.
Riviera will provide free technical and operational webinars in 2021. Sign up to attend on our events page